Baltimore Senior Baseball Official Rules

Updated March 31, 2024 - updates highlighted below


1.         GENERAL
Each player is required to have FUN. Any player failing to follow this requirement should be reminded by EVERYONE else. 

The Baltimore Senior Baseball League (“the League”) will adhere to the rules as set forth in the Major League Rule Book as published annually, with the exception of the following amendments (the “Rules”).The League shall have an Annual Meeting open to all players no later than December 1 following the end of the season.Team Managers are to ensure all players comply with the Rules at all times.

2.         League Officers

The League shall have the following Officers:  Commissioner, Vice-Commissioner, Treasurer, Secretary.  The Officers will be nominated and elected to a one year term at the Annual Meeting.  If nominated again, a sitting Officer may be re-elected for as many terms as they wish to serve as Officers, per TRC guidelines.  An Executive Committee shall be comprised of the League Officers and the Team Managers.

The League shall consist of eight teams.  Each team shall have 15 players including full-time and/or part-time players with a maximum of 1 part-time player.  If a team desires to add players beyond 15 players, the team shall bring a request to the Executive Committee.  The request for additional players shall be voted on by the Executive Committee and granted if a majority of the Executive Committee approves.  Each team shall have a manager responsible for ensuring that all players comply with all League Rules at all times.  As soon as possible following the Draft, but no later than 2 weeks prior to opening day of the new season, the Secretary shall submit to each manager and to the Commissioner a full league roster by team, including phone numbers and e-mail addresses.  Each team may have a single part time player paying only a portion of the annual fee, provided:
     (i) That the part time player plays no more than eight games of the current season
     (ii) The part time player does not participate in playoff or championship games
Abuse of this privilege by Managers may result in possible forfeitures to be determined by the Executive Committee. If a player pays the full registration fee and is placed on a team, he is considered a full time player and counted as such for purposes of roster limits, even though he may play only part time due to injury, illness, etc.

In the spirit of fun, during the Regular Season, a liberal replacement policy will exist, and teams shall share players. This will include loaning/borrowing of opposing team player(s). If a “borrowed player” is requested from the opposing team either before or during the game, the last batted out from the prior inning will be provided to the borrowing team.  The borrowed player will play where needed except for pitcher or catcher (unless otherwise agreed by the borrowed player for that inning).  If the last batted out is unable, then requesting team shall provide a player in reverse lineup order to reduce the likelihood of the borrowed player missing an at bat.  Both teams may request players if both teams need fielders to conduct a legal game, per section 7.  A team may not borrow more than two players per inning.  Any exceptions to the foregoing must be agreed to at the ground rules discussion.  This is to ensure a game is played. Remember winning is secondary to having fun. 

a.         The League will provide four new baseballs (two from each manager) to the plate umpire at the start of each game.
b.         Unless lost or damaged, these balls will be returned to the respective teams after the game.
c.         Each team will be represented at a “ground rules” discussion held at home plate prior to the start of each game. The ground rules will remain consistent throughout the season and are not subject to periodic change during a season.

d.         Each team’s line-up will be set by the time the ground rules discussion. As such, any player not available to play at that time shall be placed at the end of his team’s line-up.

a.         All players present at the game will bat, in order, as set by the time of the ground rules discussion.
b.         It is the team manager’s responsibility to assure that each player plays at least 4 innings per game in a defense position unless such player elects not to play. If, for some reason, a game is shortened, or a player leaves early or arrives late, this Rule does not apply.
c.         When a player cannot finish a game they started, for any reason, that player’s spot in the batting order will be skipped and an out will not be assigned each time his batting spot comes up. If a player is ejected, an out WILL be recorded for each at bat. A game can end on an ejected player out. A player’s first ejection will result in a suspension warning. A second ejection by same player will result in a suspension from the next 2 played games.
d.         Designated fielder: A team may have a non-batting, designated fielder. This designation must be announced to the umpire and opposing manager at home plate before the game.

e.          An outfielder in position 7,8, or 9 shall not assist on or attempt to throw a batter/runner out at first base when a batted ball reaches the outfield grass.


a.         Free and liberal substitution of defensive players will be allowed, except for a pitcher. If a pitcher is replaced, that pitcher may return to pitch again during that game only once unless sub-section 7b applies. No pitcher may pitch more than five (5) combined innings in any game (4 innings in a 7 inning game). A single pitch in an inning constitutes an inning.
b.         At any time during a game a pitcher shall be replaced if they hit 3 batters over the course of the game, unless agreed to by both managers. That pitcher will not be able to re-enter as a pitcher for the remainder of that game.
c.         If a courtesy runner is needed for an injured offensive player (“injury runner”), the offensive player who made the last batted out must pinch run, unless the last batted out is the scheduled pitcher or catcher for the subsequent defensive 1/2 inning, in which case the batted out prior to the last batted out must be the injury runner.  If an injury runner is needed and there are no recorded outs in the inning, the last batted out from the prior inning will be the pinch runner.  An injury runner cannot steal or advance on passed balls and can only advance on a batted ball.  In addition, an injury runner is not allowed to leave the cut out area of the base they occupy until a bat hits the live ball or an umpire directs them to advance one base on a balk.  An injury runner leaving the cutout prior to the point the bat hits the live ball shall be called out by the umpire.  A fielder may attempt to pick off an injury runner, however the injury runner may only return to the base occupied and may not advance.

d.         In the interest of time conservation, a courtesy runner will be allowed for the incoming pitcher and catcher only when there are 2 outs (“substitute runner”).  The offensive player who made the last batted out must pinch run, unless the last batted out is the scheduled pitcher or catcher for the subsequent defensive 1/2 inning, in which case the batted out prior to the last batted out must be the pinch runner.  Substitute runners can steal and advance on passed balls.

8.         A LEGAL GAME
a.         A legal game is one where the trailing team has batted at least five times.
b.         Each team will keep an accurate score book (supplied by the League) for each game.
c.         A game will consist of at least four and one half (4 1/2) innings but not more than nine (9) innings, or until the times allocated by field permits where applicable. A game starting on or after 6:00 PM will consist of seven (7) innings. A suspended game, which is rescheduled, will be played only to the inning it would have been played on its original date (except in the event of a tie).
d.         Once a game is a legal game, the umpires may conclude the game at any time they feel it is unsafe to play due to darkness or weather or field conditions. If a game is concluded in the middle on an inning due to darkness or weather, the game’s outcome shall be determined as of the last completed inning. If the home team is winning at the time of stoppage it will be considered a complete inning. If the visiting team is winning at the time of stoppage the final score will be as of the last full inning played. A resulting tie will be considered a suspended game to be continued from that point at a later time.
e.         No new inning may start after three (3) hours from the start of the game for Sunday morning games. The only exception for this is if there are teams with valid permits waiting to use the field on Sunday at the conclusion of the game. In this case, no new inning shall start after two (2) hours and forty-five (45) minutes and the game must conclude no later than after three (3) hours of play. For weeknight games the final inning shall be at the discretion of the umpires based on availability of daylight. The umpire must announce to both teams when the last inning will occur at least 1 inning prior to ending.

f.          Each 1/2 inning after the 9th (or 7th in the case of a double header) shall begin with a runner on 2nd base.

a.         Valid reasons for game cancellations are:
     (i) Unavailability of umpires,
     (ii) Inclement weather, and
     (iii) At the discretion of the League Commissioner,
     (iv) Field conditions
     (v) Per Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks directive
b.         Once a game begins, the umpires have the responsibility to determine the safety of playing. This pertains to weather conditions, daylight, and other matters related to safety, i.e. the condition of the field.
c.         A game stopped before it is a legal game will be rescheduled as a new game. All rescheduled games will be held at a time assigned by the Commissioner.

a.         Players may only use solid wooden baseball bats. Composite, metal and any BBCOR rated bats are prohibited.
b.         Players may only use shoes with non-metal spikes during the game. Any player found to be wearing metal spikes (including stepping into the batter’s box) will face immediate ejection. It is the team manager’s responsibility to make sure this rule is adhered to prior to the start of a game.
c.         Matching team uniforms are preferred and make the league look best. Players must purchase their own uniforms and are a separate expense from League registration fees.
d.         All batters and base runners will wear safety approved batting helmets whenever the player is at bat or on the base paths. This includes batting practice and team drills. Base coaches are encouraged, but not required, to wear a helmet.

11.       UMPIRES
a.         All games will have two (2) umpires, unless only one (1) umpire is available for that game, until the game is completed or until dark for weeknight games, whichever occurs first.
b.         If an umpire must leave a game before it is completed to officiate in another game elsewhere, that umpire will be assigned to the field and not home plate. Managers must be made aware of this situation prior to the beginning of the game by the umpires.
c.         Umpires (whether one or two are present) have the final decision on all judgment calls.
d. There will be no arguing with umpires or between players concerning BALLS, STRIKES or OUTS.
e.         Only violations of MAJOR LEAGUE RULES and BSB rules may be protested. Protests must be sent to Commissioner no later than 36 hours after scheduled start of protested game.
f.          Umpires will have authority to eject unreasonable players/spectators.

a.         If, after five (5) or more complete innings (4½ or more if the home team is leading), one team is leading by 12 or more runs, the game will be considered complete and the leading team declared the winner. This will apply only if the losing team consents.
b.         No more than 4 runs will be counted for each half inning of play up to and including the first 7 innings in a scheduled 9 inning game, and 4 runs for the first 5 innings in a 7 inning game. Thereafter there will be no run limits imposed in the remaining innings.
c.         For the purpose of the subsequent year’s draft, as well as for placing teams into seeds for any post-season tournament, an overall standing shall be calculated as follows.
     (i) First, all teams shall be ranked in terms of their win-lost-tie records. A point system will assign 2 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss.
     (ii) Second, in the event of a tie between teams, the won-lost record in the contests between the tied teams shall determine their respective ranking overall. Therefore, if two teams are otherwise tied, the one that has the winning record against the other shall be placed ahead in the standings. Run differential between still tied teams will determine tiebreaker.
     (iii) In the event that there is an even record between tied teams, their ultimate standing versus each other will be determined by a coin toss.
d.         In the case that there is no tournament scheduled for the end of the season, the playoff structure will comprise of a one week matchup where the 1st place National League (NL) team will play the 1st place American League (AL) team, the 2nd place NL team will play 2nd place AL team, 3rd place NL team will play 3rd place AL, and the 4th place NL team will play the 4th place AL team. In each matchup, the team with the best regular season record will be assigned as the home team.

13.       GAME vs. DAY
Each game is to be treated as a game and not a day. For a suspended game being finished prior to the start of a regularly scheduled game, the pitcher of record in the suspended game, if not having pitched his limited four (4) consecutive innings or the equivalent of, may continue to pitch until his limit for that game is reached, or the game is finished, whichever occurs earlier. After the suspended game is finished, and a regularly scheduled game is started, the pitcher(s) mentioned above would be eligible to pitch in the new game.

14.       APPEALS
Umpires have the final decision in judgment calls. Only violations of the Major League and BSB rules may be protested.

15.       PLAYER AGE
New players must be forty (40) years of age or older by July 31st of the current year season. All new players must provide valid proof of age to the league by the date of the New Player Evaluation. All players must provide proof of age to a league official before they are allowed to play.

a.         An Eligibility Roster, which includes players’ name, positions, age, self-ranked ability level, phone number and E-Mail address, will be maintained by the League Treasurer as well as the Commissioner and will not be distributed to each Manager. If a team needs a replacement player after the season has started, the Treasurer will assign players from the Eligibility Roster on a first-in-first-out basis.
b.         A new player must be selected from the Eligibility Roster. All new players must go on the Eligibility Roster and must have attended an evaluation.
c.         If a team’s roster is or falls below the maximum once the season has started, the next available player from the roster will be assigned to that team by the league Treasurer.

All rules pertaining to team rosters shall follow the spirit of the league in maintaining competitive balance among teams. Free agency, protected players, and draft choices should contribute to the balance of competition among teams. The primary needs of an individual team should focus on pitching and catching. Teams in need of pitching and catching that recruit position players will not be able maintain a competitive presence.
a.         Returning Players. Players in good standing at the end of a season are “Returning Players” for the purpose of these rules and are entitled to return and play the following season as long as they meet the league’s application deadlines. A player who misses a single season is also considered to be a returning player. The league shall open registration exclusively for returning players at least one month before admitting the applications of new players.
b.         New Players. New player applications received during the registration period are to be placed in a queue by the league Treasurer. New applications will be accepted in the order they were received up until the point that the league is deemed “full” as determined by Section 18 of these rules.
c.         League Full. The league is deemed to be “full” when the number of registered players equals the maximum number of players per team (15 players) as defined by Section 3 of these rules multiplied by the number of teams in the league. At eight teams and a maximum of fifteen players per team, the league will be deemed full when the number of registrations reaches 120.
d.         Eligibility Roster. Once the league is deemed to be full all subsequent received applications, whether from new or returning players, shall be placed by the Treasurer on a waiting list known as the “Eligibility Roster”.
e.         Payment. A player’s application shall not be deemed accepted and they shall not be considered registered unless the application is accompanied by payment in full of the League’s published registration fee. In the event that an applicant submits a check which is returned by the bank for any reason, that player’s application will be deemed not to be received and that player not registered. That applicant will be placed at the back of the applicant queue when the League receives valid funds for both the registration fee as well as any bank charges incurred by the return of the bounced check. In such a case, it is possible that the League may have become full in the intervening period and the player involved relegated to the Eligibility Roster.

a.         As long as the League is not full pursuant to Section 18c, a returning player is entitled to return to the last team he played for unless he elects Free Agency under Section 21a of these rules or unless he is removed from that team by the League Officers under Section 23b.
b.         If the League is full and a returning player is placed on the Eligibility Roster pursuant to Section 18d , that player may be added to his old team’s roster after the draft is completed and only if the old team agrees to the addition. This will result in the team having more than the maximum number of players.  The League reserves the right to limit the use of the Returning Player clause to one player per team per year.  Special situations will be reviewed by the Officers for approving multiple returning players in a single season.
c.         If the League receives an application from a player who has missed more than a single season (“veteran player”) and who wishes to return to the last team he played for and the League is not yet full, that veteran player may be assigned to his old team only if the team agrees to the assignment. If the League receives the veteran player’s application after the League is deemed full, then that veteran player may be added with the team’s approval only after the new player draft is complete. This will result in the team having more than the maximum number of players. This section shall only be used if the League has records of the veteran player’s past participation.

By March 10 prior to the upcoming season, a New Player Evaluation will be held to complete the registration process. It is the responsibility of each team to be represented at this Evaluation. The Treasurer shall invite the exact number of new players and free agents to the New Player Evaluation corresponding to the total number of vacancies necessary to fill the League. The Treasurer shall also invite one or two alternate applicants from the top of the Eligibility Roster to observe in case an invited player does not show up. In that case, the alternate applicants shall participate as needed in the Evaluation with the other new players and free agents. A player not showing up to the New Player Evaluation shall be placed at a random spot in the Eligibility Roster.  The Commissioner is to ensure that any drafted player has participated in the Evaluation. All new players (other than Protected Players) and late registrants must attend the Evaluation in order to be eligible for the draft or team placement.

a.         Any returning player wishing to change teams must claim free agency status on his registration form. Free agents will be put into the pool of new players for the purpose of the League’s draft, see Section 21.
b.         A manager may not force or coerce a player to leave his team.
c.         A free agent may designate on his application the team he wants to join. After the League is deemed full, the Treasurer will ascertain if the team so named has elected to take the free agent as their first round draft pick. If the team agrees, the Treasurer shall inform the Secretary so that the draft can be run accordingly. If the team already has the maximum number of players and thus would have had no draft picks to give up, then the Treasurer shall allow another player off of the eligibility roster and into the new player draft.
d.         Each team in need of one or more players to complete its roster may have a protected pick from either the Free Agent pool or the new player pool.  If upon selecting a player for its protected pick, the team’s roster is full, the team shall not participate in the Draft.  If upon selecting a protected pick a team is still in need of one or more players to complete its roster, the team shall have draft picks in accordance with Section 21.  If a team in need of one or more players to complete its roster does not avail itself of its protective pick, then it shall enter the draft in accordance with Section 21.  A new player can declare which team he wishes to play for and if that team wants that player, it may declare him to be its “protected pick.” A protected player does not need to attend the new player evaluation. To be a protected pick , a new player must have met all of the other eligibility requirements. Protected picks must be declared by February 18th of the current season.
e.         Assuming the team with the worst regular season record in each division is in need of two or more players to complete its roster, those teams may have two protected picks from either the Free Agent pool or the new player pool before the draft.  If upon selecting a player for its protected picks, the team’s roster is full, the team shall not participate in the Draft.  If upon selecting its protected picks a team is still in need of one or more players to complete its roster, the team shall have draft picks in accordance with Section 21.  If a team in need of two or more players to complete its roster does not avail itself of one or both of its protective picks, then it shall enter the draft in accordance with Section 21.   

21.       DRAFT
a.         The Draft will be held immediately following the completion of the New Player Evaluation.

b.         The Secretary shall prepare a document laying out the order of the draft picks. Picks shall be assigned to teams in the reverse order of the teams’ performance in the previous season as determined by Section 11. The draft shall be organized into rounds for clarity and each manager shall be given numbered cards corresponding to their team’s picks in the draft.
c.         If two new players are invited to the evaluation and they have designated on their application that they wish to be selected together, then the League will do its best to honor their request. For a team to select the two players as a pair, the team would need to give up its two best available draft picks at the time it makes the selection. The two players may not be split up unless they are the last two players selected in the draft and two teams have the last two picks.
d.         A team wishing to add players above the League maximum (15 players) shall be able to do so only after every other team reaches the maximum number of players (15 players) and a majority of the managers agree. In practice this means that such additional picks will be the very last picks in the draft.
e.         After all new players are selected and all draft pick cards are handed in, teams may trade new players as long as the new players have not been notified of their selection in the draft. If such a trade is made, then the two managers will notify the League Secretary before notifying the traded new players. The League’s records of teams and players will be accurate at all times.

In the event of a protest or serious infraction of the League rules, e.g. one of the type for which either forfeiture, suspension or expulsion has been previously set forth as a penalty, the following procedure shall apply:
a.         The Commissioner shall undertake an investigation to ascertain all pertinent facts from all available witnesses. The Commissioner shall thereafter make a finding of fact and if necessary, levy penalty against the offending player(s) or team.
b.         Unsportsmanlike conduct, which includes, but is not limited to, cursing, berating, physically or verbally threatening an umpire, team manager, teammate, opponent or spectator will not be tolerated. In addition, fighting or the throwing of equipment, such as bats, helmets, bases, etc. is cause for ejection. Any repetitive unsportsmanlike conduct is subject to League dismissal.
c.         These Rules are subject to periodic review and may be amended at any time according to the guidelines herein.

d.         The Executive Committee reserves the right to prohibit any League member or applicant from playing, managing, or participating in the League when the Executive Committee returns a majority vote that the League member or applicant in question has violated League, TRC, and/or Baltimore County Parks and Rec rules or regulations in a manner significantly detrimental to any of said organizations.  Upon such a finding, the League shall document the violation and provide a copy to the individual in question

Any of these rules may be amended by majority consent of the Executive Committee, comprised of the League Commissioner, Vice-Commissioner, Treasurer, Secretary and team Managers.  The aforementioned League officers will be nominated and elected to one year terms, and may be re-elected, if nominated and as long as they wish to continue to serve as officers of the Board, per TRC guidelines.

2022 League Officers
Jim Yarsky– Commissioner

Rick Howington - Vice Commissioner

Greg Myers - Treasurer